Serena Williams looks to win her first Grand Slam since giving birth, but standing in her way is a woman who beat her before: Angelique Kerber. Before this match, get to know about the German tennis star.
1. She’s a former No. 1 ranked player. When Serena Williams, 36, steps on the clay of Wimbledon on July 14, she’ll be staring down Angelique Kerber, 30. While Serena is the favorite to win the final, her opponent is no slouch. Angelique has 11 WTA and 11 ITF titles under he belt, and though she’s currently ranked at No. 10 in the world, she was once the best ranked tennis player in the world. Following her amazing 2016 run – where she won the Australia Open, the U.S. Open and a silver medal at the Olympics – Angelique was ranked No. 1.
2. She’s beaten Serena before. Oh, who did Angelique beat at the 2016 Australian Open to kick off that amazing run? None other than Serena Williams. Angelique defeated the defending champion in three sets – 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 – to take the crown. This was Serena’s second-straight Grand Slam loss, as she was eliminated from the 2015 U.S. Open by Roberta Vinci. Serena would get her win back, defeating Angelique at Wimbledon in 2016.
3. Angelique made history in 2016. While Angelique lost to Serena – who is considered the “G.O.A.T.” so it’s not like it was a shameful thing – at Wimbledon, she recovered the next month. At the U.S. Open, Angelique defeated Caroline Wozniacki in two sets. In doing so, she became the first German woman to win the Open since Steffi Graf pulled off the feat in 1996. “It’s incredible. I’m standing here with a second Grand Slam trophy and it means so much to me,” she said afterwards.
4. Her parents are Polish, but her heart “beats for Germany.” The Bremen-born Angelique was born to a Polish father and a German mother, according to Tennis.com (though, some places have said it’s the reverse, with her father being German.) Despite being strongly tied to Poland, Angelique considers herself German. “It’s true that I now live in Poland and have a relationship with the country, because my parents live there and I have also trained there,” she said. “But I am German. I play for Germany, I grew up in Germany, and my heart beats for Germany,” she said.
5. She’s a huge soccer fan. Angelique’s heart was likely broken in half when the German national soccer team was eliminated from the World Cup. She’s shown her love for football in the past, and her favorite team is Bayern Munich. She was “a Bayern fan right form being a small child, despite coming from northern Germany,” according to Bundesliga’s official site. “Everyone around us supported HSV or Bremen, so I was the odd one out.” Bayern returned the love when she won the Australian Open in 2016. Will they celebrate again if/when she beats Serena? Time will tell.